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Musty Smell in Closet: Reasons & Solutions

What if while getting ready for a special event when you take out an outfit from your closet it’s smelling damp? That’s surely not expected.

Your closet is the storehouse of all your clothes, dresses, and accessories. Whether it’s a wall closet or a walk-in one, it is supposed to smell fresh and crisp just like the clothes. 

Maybe you take care of your clothes nicely but your closet is not getting the attention it needs, That’s why there is a musty smell in your closet ruining it all. 

There are a few common reasons why a closet smells damp and musty. We have researched deep on this topic and looks like we’ve got the reasons behind this problem and the solutions too! Check it out to know! 

Musty smell in closet

A musty smell in a closet usually occurs due to heavy moisture. Too much moisture in the closet can grow molds in the closet and that can make the whole closet smell musty and stale. Lack of air in that closed area too causes a damp scent. Besides, dirty clothing items can be responsible for this.

Whether you own a walk-in, built-in, or wall closet, it owns almost all your clothes as well as shoes and accessories. Since closets store your favorite and expensive wearable stuff, they are supposed to smell fresh and nice.

Closets need to smell good so that the items kept there remain in a good condition. But due to many reasons our closets often smell foul. More like a damp place that’s surely not pleasant to anyone at all. 

The foul musty scent not only ruins the ambiance of the room but also leaves a chance of damage to the clothes as they too start smelling bad.  

If you’re wondering what could be the reason behind this bad smell, we’ve listed some common reasons for you to know: 

Excessive moisture:

Moisture is one of the most common reasons why a closet smells musty. A closet is a closed space and whenever spaces like this get filled with high moisture it may smell musty.

Excessive moisture can happen due to bad weather, too narrow a closet, or a crack or leak in the walls that have water lines inside. 

Mildews and molds:

Too much moisture makes the way for molds and mildews to grow in a closet. Molds love to breed in a moist area and when they grow in a bulk amount it starts to smell stale. 

So mold build-up can be noted as another reason why your closet smells musty.

Dirty and damp items:

Often people throw sweaty and dirt clothing items such as damp sweaters, dirty socks, or sweaty shoes inside the closet. This is unhygienic and can be a reason for the foul damp smell in your closet. 

Dirty, damp, and sweaty clothing item can act as a breeding ground for molds and smell bad. 

Leakage in the wall:

Musty smelling closet can be a result of a water leak in the walls of your room or closet walls. Often the pipelines that go through the building walls cracks and leak thus the walls get damp. 

Following the damaged and damp wall, a closet too can smell musty and damp. 

Lack of air:

If your closet is not too wide or has more items than its size then it may face ventilation issues. Narrow closets that don’t maintain a closet building rule often end up being too small or skinny so the air cannot enter or pass through. 

Thus the space inside the closet gets stuck with so many clothes and smells damp or musty lacking fresh air. 

How to get rid of musty smell in closet?

If your wall closet is smelling musty and foul, then you have to take the necessary steps to tackle the situation.

As you already know the possible reason now you might think about how you can get rid of this damp and unpleasant fragrance that’s taking over your house. 

To make your work easier, we’ve here given a step-by-step guide that will help you to get off the musty smell in your closet:

Take out all the clothes:

To start working first you have to take out every item from your closet. Don’t leave any accessories like bags or shoes inside as you will deeply clean it. 

Detach the racks and shelves:

With a screwdriver loosen the shelves and racks of the closet. Remove all the shelves, hangers, and hooks for cleaning.

Clean it all:

The cleaning will require three steps. First, you need to wipe all the parts of the closet using a solution of bleach and water. It will clean all the molds and sanitize the space. 

For the next part of cleaning using a piece of cloth wipe the closet and every part so it’s no longer damp. Finally, sprinkle baking soda all over the closet and keep it like this for a day. 

Put closet deodorizer:

Now clean the baking soda from the closet and fix all the hangers, and shelves back.

As a deodorizer, you can keep the baking soda too. But there are other options such as essential oils, dryer sheets, coffee grounds, naphthalene, or charcoal. Put whatever you prefer in every corner of your closet. 

Use a dehumidifier:

Finally, to keep your closet free of moisture use a good dehumidifier. It will absorb the water compounds from the air and keep the closet as well your room dry and fresh.

What is a good closet deodorizer?

Deodorizers can eliminate any bad odor by neutralizing the strong foul smell. A closet that has a musty damp smell in it demands a good deodorizer that will keep the closet space as well as the items smelling fresh.

There are many suitable deodorizers for using in a closet. You can choose from commercial and chemical-based products and there are natural options too.

Naphthalene is a great deodorizer and they act against insects too. You can put naphthalene balls or use the powdered form of it to keep your closet free of bad smells.

Baking soda is another option as it has the power to neutralize and strong scent. 

Dryer sheets can be kept in cloth folding or in corners of the closet as they will absorb the musty smell. Activated carbon is another effective option to use. Besides, you can buy different brand’s air purifiers or air freshener bags to keep in the closet. 

If you want to use natural products you can use essential oils such as lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, etc. Dried lemon peels, neem leaves, herbs, spices like, clove, and oregano act as a natural deodorizer. A scented soap bar can remove odor too. 

Seven ways for preventing musty smell in the closet

It’s better to take steps to prevent damp and musty smells in your closet than to cry over the matter later. Here we’ve listed some necessary steps that must be taken to keep your closet smelling fresh all the time. 

Plan your closet properly:

While making a closet maintain the ideal dimension. Don’t make it too narrow or skinny. Keep a good distance between shelves. Plan the design properly so there is space for ventilation. 

Use a dehumidifier:

Use a dehumidifier to balance the moisture level in the room as well as inside the closet. Keep the closet open for some time every day to let the stuck air get out from the closet.

Clean the closet regularly:

Don’t just organize the closet once then never clean it again. Regular cleaning is important to prevent future damage and spot problems at the first stage if any.

Use powerful cleaning agents to deep clean from time to time. Don’t leave the closet damp after cleaning. 

Check walls and pipes often:

Damp walls or cracked water lines behind walls can cause a musty smell in the closet many times. Observe the walls in your walk-in closet or check the wall closet after a certain time to prevent a bad smell.

Avoid putting dirty or damp items:

Never keep half-dried, damp, or wet items inside the closet. Dirty or sweaty laundries are another reason the closet smells damp. Always store washed and clean items inside the closet that has fully dried.

Use deodorizers:

Always use deodorizers in the closest in between the clothes. It’s a great way to neutralize bad odor and prevent it from getting stronger. There are chemical-based as well as natural deodorizers available.

You can also get your hands on a commercial product that is effective to keep musty smells away. 

Final Thoughts

Mostly excessive moisture is responsible for the musty smell in a closet. Other than this bad and too humid weather, mold build-up in dirty and half-dried clothes can cause a musty and damp smell inside the closet. Lack of ventilation too can make a closet smell foul and damp.